The New York Times and CBS News have both hit Apple on the working conditions in manufacturing partner Foxconn's Chinese plants, with the Times detailing a "rash of suicide attempts" at Foxconn's Shenzhen factory in an incendiary article titled "Apple's iPad and the Human Costs For Workers In China."
Now, another source has weighed in on labor conditions at Foxconn's plants: late night comedian Conan O'Brien.
In a sketch aired on his Wednesday night show, Conan reveals the newest product to come out of Apple, apropos of the Times article: The iNett, a safety net that catches suicidal, building-jumping Foxconn workers and slingshots them back to their spots on the assembly line.
Apple CEO Tim Cook had previously responded to the New York Times story in a letter to employees obtained by Apple blog 9to5mac. Cook wrote, in part:
Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It's not who we are.
Cook's full letter is available on 9to5mac.
Concerned consumers have attached more than 160,000 signatures to a petition titled "Apple: Protect Workers Making iPhones in Chinese Factories." The petition demands that Apple safeguard the rights of assembly workers by drafting worker protection guidelines for factories to implement during times when worker injuries and suicides have been known to spike, such as during new product launches. The signers also demand that Apple publish the findings of the Fair Labor Association, which will be monitoring supplier factories.
Conan, meanwhile, has a long history of tweaking Apple: Here he is making fun of Apple's poorly-received release of Final Cut Pro X, and here's his take on the nasty questions people REALLY ask Siri for the iPhone 4S.
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